Preparing for the Flu Season

Preparing for the Flu Season

It’s nearing the time of the year when the temperature drops and the annual cycle of flu season begins. Although Western Australia has recorded the lowest flu numbers in history (a surprising silver lining in the current Covid-19 pandemic); it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to dealing with the influenza (flu).

What is the Flu and How Does it Spread?

The flu is a common, highly contagious virus that affects the respiratory system. It can cause mild to serious illness and even death in vulnerable population such as young children, older adults and people with underlying health issues.

The flu virus is spread through droplets when someone coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can settle on hard surfaces so you can catch the virus from touching a contaminated surface and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose.

Common Cold or The Flu?

Flu symptoms are deceptively similar to the common cold. However, the flu is more severe and lasts much longer than a cold. To understand the differences between the flu and the common cold, see the following table:

SymptomsThe FluCommon Cold
Headache, aches & painCommonRare
Fatigue & weaknessCommon
Last days
Uncommon
Usually mild
Runny/stuffy noseUncommonCommon
Sore throatUncommonCommon
CoughCommon
Dry or moist
Common
Moist
* Influenza (flu) – healthywa.wa.gov.au

What Can I do to Prepare for Flu Season?

Although we’ve come to accept that flu season occurs annually, there are many ways we can prepare for this to protect ourselves and the ones we love.

Get Vaccinated

The best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine every year. A new vaccine is produced every year with the 3 most common strains of circulating influenza virus. Although this is not an iron-clad solution, it is the best option to protect yourself against the flu.

Hygiene is Key

Wash your hands often with soap and water or use antibacterial hand sanitisers, especially after coughing or sneezing. Regular hand washing will kill the virus if you had unknowingly touched any flu virus contaminated surfaces. And avoid touching your face. Also, clean surfaces regularly, especially high traffic objects like doorknobs, phones and toys.

Eat Healthy Foods

The next time you’re at the supermarket, be sure to pick up the following items:

  • Garlic: Chopped garlic produces an enzyme called alliinase which has antiviral and antibacterial properties that helps boost your immune system.
  • Mushrooms: One of nature’s superfoods, the protein called cytokine found in mushrooms are shown to “promote innate immunity”.
  • Yoghurt: Filled with probiotics to improve gut health which increases your body’s ability to produce antibodies to fight viruses.

Stock Up on Supplements

While a supplements can’t and shouldn’t replace a healthy diet, the following items* may help reduce the symptoms of the flu and boost your immune system to ward of the virus.

Vitamin C: Probably the most popular supplement for immunity. It supports the function of various immune cells and enhances their ability to protect against infection. Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold.
Check out Cenovis Sugarless Vitamin C 500mg.

Elderberry: The black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is used to treat infections. Studies have shown that elderberry extract is a potent antibacterial and antiviral element that fights against upper respiratory tract infections and strains of the flu. It also enhances the immune system response and may help shorten the duration and severity of colds and viral infections.
Check out Sambucol Immuno Forte.

Andrographis: This herb contains andrographolide, a terpenoid compound found to have antiviral effects against respiratory disease-causing viruses.
Check out Bioceuticals ArmaForce.

* Supplements to Boost Your Immune System – Healthline

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